On the glacier, the extra snow is temporarily haltingthe retreat of the ice. Digging to the glacier surface through 2.5 m of snow revealed that it is growing through the refreezing of surface snowmelt. The formation of this “superimposed ice” layer means the rivers flowing to the sea are much smaller than we expected. This affects the second part of our study, which involves the examination of nutrients transported from land to marine ecosystems. However, we have been able to travel along the peninsula and around the point into False Bay to collect several stream water samples now. At False Bay, we saw a dead humpback whale on the beach providing a summer’s worth of food for a large group of Giant Petrels. Watching them feed was like seeing albatrosses behave like vultures, neck-deep in blubber and meat. There was a long line of fifty or so birds waiting to get to the carcass. Each approaching bird tried to make itself look big and important by fanning its tail and half spreading its wings. Their behaviour was certainly one of the strangest things we have see on our trip so far.
Andrew Hodson e Aga Nowak, Univ. Sheffield.
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